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Notebook: Florida win brings return of 'victory meal'

Florida Today
Published:   |   Updated: March 21, 2013 at 11:49 PM
GAINESVILLE -

No one was happier to dine Sunday night than University of Florida LB Brandon Hicks, who prior to the Gators' recent three-game losing streak had been a part of 26 wins and two losses the previous two seasons.

"Golden Grahams,'' Hicks said. "Three straight weeks.''That was the senior's dinner each Sunday after the defeats. The Gators started a tradition by having a "victory meal'' after each win when Coach Urban Meyer arrived in 2005. That usually meant a feast the following night. But after losses?

"We go home (after Sunday night practice),'' Hicks said. "Cereal (for dinner).''Saturday's 34-31 overtime win against Georgia, however, brought back the feast. It was pasta and seafood all around.

"The food tasted great,'' Hicks said Monday, with a big smile. "It was a great time, an exciting time for everybody to know that we finally pulled it out. Going three weeks without a win is something that never happens here and it was more shocking to the football players not to have a victory meal ... it was more, oh, man, we've lost three games straight.

"It was a big shocker. To know that we still have a season and we can keep going and have life in front of us, we're playing to keep pushing and keep pushing and keep driving and make that successful.''Added Meyer: "I couldn't tell you (what the food was), no idea what it was, but it was unbelievable.''

BIKE RIDER: Junior TB Jeff Demps has decided he will start riding a stationary bike at halftime during games, starting this Saturday at Vanderbilt, to help keep his sprained left foot loose.

"At halftime you take a break and sit down for a little bit and it's kind of hard to get that adrenaline going again when we come back for the second half,'' Demps said. "It starts getting stiff for me. After a while it starts to warm up but it's not the same as the first half.''Demps, who has a ligament injury on the top of his foot that has slowed him since the Tennessee game in September, ran for 98, 139 and 73 yards in his first three games but was limited to a total of 33 carries in the last five contests - although he did run nine times for 38 yards and caught two passes for 43 yards against Georgia.

He used to ride a stationary bike the locker room at halftime while in high school."It helped a lot,'' said Demps, who won the NCAA 100-meters title last spring. "I cramped up a lot, my body would cool down and I would start to cramp up so I did it at halftime. My coaches brought the bike in for me.''Needless to say, Florida's equipment managers will be double-checking to make sure a stationary bike is on the moving truck this week.

"It's been tough,'' Demps said. "At times I've gotten frustrated but at the same time I have to stay positive and keep my teammates going.''

DUCK-LIKE: C Mike Pouncey said a lot of the idea Florida got for the no-huddle offense it used against Georgia came from watching film of the Oregon-Tennessee game, in which the Ducks blew out an exhausted Vols team in the second half.

"They've got the best tempo in college football,'' Pouncey said. "We watched a lot of film on them, you can tell how they put up so many points. It helps them out a lot so it's something we wanted to try and it helped us in the game so we're going to continue it and each week get better and better at it.''

HONORED: Chas Henry, who averaged 46.8 yard on six punts and kicked the game-winning 37-yard field goal against Georgia, was named the SEC's co-special teams player of the week. He made two of three field goal tries.

Backup QB Trey Burton, who rushed for 110 yards on 17 attempts, caught five passes for 35 yards and completed two passes for 26 yards, was named the SEC tri-freshman of the week.

GONE, OUT: Meyer said freshman WR Jonathan Dowling is no longer with the squad after breaking team rules. Dowling was a safety recruit from Bradenton Southeast who was rated the No. 5 safety recruit in the nation by Scout.com. No other explanation was offered for the dismissal. Meyer said there was no chance Dowling would be allowed to return.

Also, OL Matt Patchan (wrist) remains sidelined and won't play this week. He has missed the entire season after a preseason injury.

GAME TIME: The Florida-South Carolina game in Gainesville on Nov. 13 will kick off at 7:15 p.m. and will be televised on either ESPN or ESPN2. The game likely will determine the winner of the SEC's Eastern Division

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